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The Latest: Gov. Ned Lamont’s 1st speech receives praise

January 9, 2019
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Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont takes the oath of office administered by former Chief Justice Chase T. Rogers, Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019, inside the William A. O'Neill Armory in Hartford Conn. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill, Pool)
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Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont takes the oath of office administered by former Chief Justice Chase T. Rogers, Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019, inside the William A. O'Neill Armory in Hartford Conn. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill, Pool)

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — The Latest on Inauguration Day and opening day of Connecticut General Assembly (all times local):

4 p.m.

Connecticut’s new governor is getting high marks for his first address to the General Assembly from Democrats and Republicans.

Democratic Senate President Pro Tempore Martin Looney says Gov. Ned Lamont on Wednesday presented a “traditional, optimistic Democratic message,” praising him for mentioning the need for a $15 minimum wage and a new paid family medical leave system.

Senate Republican Leader Len Fasano says nothing in Lamont’s speech was a “non-starter,” even his proposal for a higher minimum wage. Fasano says he’s optimistic that Lamont’s business background will ensure he’ll be more fiscally responsible when it comes to Connecticut’s budget.

House Minority Leader Themis Klarides (THEHM’-his KLEHR’-ih-dehs) warns however that Republicans were optimistic about former Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy on his first day, yet the two sides ultimately clashed.

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3 p.m.

Newly minted Gov. Ned Lamont, a successful businessman, is promising to present state lawmakers with a budget that will be in balance for the foreseeable future.

The Democrat addressed a joint session of the General Assembly shortly after being sworn into office as Connecticut’s 89th governor on Wednesday.

As a small businessman, Lamont says he comes from a world where “the numbers have to add up at the end of the month or the lights go out.”

The new fiscal year that begins July 1 is projected to have a roughly $2 billion deficit. Lamont says fixing that problem requires “a bigger table and an open door.”

Lamont is also calling for making state government more efficient and encouraging more regional cooperation among Connecticut’s 169 cities and towns.

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2:30 p.m.

Former Gov. Lowell P. Weicker Jr. says newly minted Gov. Ned Lamont will be a great Connecticut governor, crediting him with caring for those less fortunate.

The 87-year-old Weicker, who served as an independent governor from 1991 to 1995, said Wednesday that his friend from Greenwich has “compassion, he’s got brains and he’s got energy and he’s truly for the underclass,” adding how that includes “people who are outside for one reason or another.”

“And I like that. He’s a great guy,” he says.

Weicker joined fellow former Governors M. Jodi Rell and Dannel P. Malloy for Wednesday’s inaugural ceremonies.

Weicker is a former Republican U.S. senator. He says he hopes more people get involved in politics, saying it’s “a dirty business because not enough people are there.”

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1:10 p.m.

Ned Lamont has been sworn in as Connecticut’s 89th governor, promising a new beginning for the state.

The 65-year-old former businessman was administered the oath of office Wednesday by former Connecticut Chief Justice Chase Rogers, a personal friend from Greenwich who went to college with Lamont’s wife, Annie.

He was surrounded by his family on stage at the Gov. William A. O’Neill State Armory in Hartford.

Lamont succeeds fellow Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, who did not seek re-election. Malloy, former Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell and former independent Gov. Lowell P. Weicker Jr. are attending the inauguration.

Lamont says he’s proud to be “following in your footsteps.”

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12:50 p.m.

Connecticut’s constitutional officers have taken their oaths of office.

Attorney General William Tong, Comptroller Kevin Lembo, Treasurer Shawn Wooden and Secretary of the State Denise Merrill were each sworn into office during a ceremony at the Gov. William A. O’Neill State Armory. All four are Democrats.

Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz (BY’-suh-wits) was previously sworn into office during a ceremony in the state Senate chamber.

Besides Bysiewicz, Wooden and Tong are newcomers to their jobs. They are all filling seats left open by fellow Democrats.

Gov.-elect Ned Lamont will also take the oath of office at the armory, which was packed with members of the public and politicians. Former Chief Justice Chase T. Rogers, a personal friend of Lamont’s, will administer the oath of office to the new governor.

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12:30 p.m.

Several dozen activists are outside the state armory, hoping to catch the attention of Gov.-elect Ned Lamont before he takes the oath of office.

They are voicing concerns about Lamont’s proposal to impose highway tolls on truckers and warning they’ll likely be more widespread, affecting all drivers. They’re also concerned about climate change, hoping to persuade Lamont to support efforts that encourage alternative energy in Connecticut.

Pat Sasser co-owns a small trucking company in Stamford and helped to organize the protest. He says tolls are “an easy way out,” and wants Lamont and state lawmakers to consider new ways to save money in order to cover the cost of Connecticut’s infrastructure needs.

Some citizens have joined his effort, holding signs that read: “Say no to tolls” and “Tolls hurt families.”

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11:30 a.m.

Susan Bysiewicz (BY’-suh-wits), a former secretary of the state and state representative, has been sworn in as Connecticut’s new lieutenant governor.

The Democrat took the oath of office on Wednesday in the state Senate, the General Assembly chamber where she will preside. Her running mate, Gov.-elect Ned Lamont, will take the oath of office at a 12:30 p.m. inaugural ceremony at the nearby state armory.

Bysiewicz succeeds outgoing Democratic Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman.

An attorney from Middletown, the 57-year-old Bysiewicz says she and Lamont are ready to address state’s challenges. She says they’ll work for paid family medical leave and fight for equality.

Quoting former Democratic Gov. Ella T. Grasso, she said “it’s not enough to profess faith in the democratic process. We must do something about it.”

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11 a.m.

Connecticut lawmakers have taken the oath of office and re-elected their top leaders.

Democratic Senate President Pro Tempore Martin Looney of New Haven and House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz (ehr-eh-SIM’-oh-wits) of Berlin returned to their leadership posts on Wednesday, opening day of the 2019 General Assembly session.

It’s also Inauguration Day for Democratic Gov.-elect Ned Lamont.

Democrats will have a stronger presence in the legislature this year. After Election Day, it appeared they will hold a 23-13 majority in the Senate and a 92-59 advantage in the House. But those numbers may change. There will be five special elections — three for Senate districts and two for House districts — to fill the seats of lawmakers who resigned to take jobs with the Lamont administration.

There’s also one House seat that’s in dispute.

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1:10 a.m.

Gov.-elect Ned Lamont is expected to deliver a dual message of optimism and realism as he takes the oath of office, becoming the state’s 89th governor.

Wednesday marks Inauguration Day in Hartford, when Lamont, a Democrat, will be sworn in during a ceremony at the state armory.

Following a 19-gun artillery salute, a Connecticut National Guard flyover and a parade, Lamont will later address a joint session of the General Assembly. Wednesday also marks opening day for the new legislative session.

Lamont is scheduled to speak at both events. He says he plans to convey a “spirit of optimism” but also acknowledge the fiscal challenges Connecticut faces. The new fiscal year is projected to carry an approximate $2 billion deficit.

Lamont succeeds Democrat Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, who did not seek re-election.

All contents © copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
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Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont takes the oath of office administered by former Chief Justice Chase T. Rogers, Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019, inside the William A. O'Neill Armory in Hartford Conn. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill, Pool)